A bridge collapsed in the Italian city of Genoa during a violent storm sending vehicles plunging 80 metres into a heap of rubble below.
A section of a viaduct on the A10 motorway on the main highway between Italy and France collapsed on Tuesday with cars and trucks trapped in the debris, firefighters said.
Television images showed the Ponte Morandi viaduct in the mist with a huge chunk missing, with Italian media reporting that 200 metres had fallen away.
Firefighter Amalia Tedeschi told RAI state TV about 20 vehicles had been involved in the collapse. She said two people had been pulled alive from vehicles in the rubble.
The Italian news agency ANSA said Italy’s interior ministry has said 11 people are known to have died.
Adnkronos, another Italian news agency, earlier reported “dozens of dead”, citing the ambulance service.
An ambulance official told Reuters news agency it could only confirm two injured people so far, “but we suppose there are unfortunately a lot of dead”.
20 vehicles involved
Rescue workers and dogs began searching the rubble 50 metres below the bridge. Two people have been found alive so far and flown to hospital by helicopter.
The fire service said the viaduct, located in an industrial area in the west of the city, collapsed at around 10:00 GMT.
It wasn’t yet clear what caused the bridge – which was built in the 1960s – to fall. Restructuring work on it was carried out in 2016.
As details emerged, the country’s Transport Minister Danilo Toninelli said the incident seemed to be “an immense tragedy”, adding he was travelling to the scene of the collapse.
“I am following with the greatest apprehension what has happened in Genoa,” Toninelli wrote on Twitter.
According to Adnkronos, the motorway remains completely blocked following the collapse, with many motorists stuck in a tunnel ahead of the bridge.
Crollo ponte #genova #a10 #viadottomorandi le prime immagini dei #soccorsi.
Decine di vittime.
Autostrada chiusa, treni sospesi.#vigilidelfuoco sul posto con il #soccorsosanitario #sosemergenza #protezionecivile pic.twitter.com/jA6HFaNTjL
— SOS EMERGENZA (@sosemergenza) August 14, 2018